Penan SAO vows to do his best for Long Bedian folk

Dennis hits the gong to mark the closing of the health camp. Ezra is on front row, third from right.

Dennis hits the gong to mark the closing of the health camp. Ezra is on front row, third from right.

BARAM: Newly-appointed state administrative officer (SAO) Ezra Uda has pledged to deliver his best in serving the people of Long Bedian.

The 38-year-old Penan saw his appointment as an honour to his family and also his community.

“I realise that this is a big, daunting responsibility but it is one that indicates the government’s trust and confidence in me to look after the affairs and needs of the people not only in Long Bedian but also other surrounding settlements.

“Although I’m a Baram native and very familiar with Long Bedian, this responsibility is still a challenge, particularly with its elevation from a mere ‘kampung’ (village) to sub-district,” said Ezra, who is among the first few Penan university graduates and also the first to hold such a significant post in the state civil service.

On his community, Ezra dismissed the myth that most Penans ‘are lazy and backwards in every aspect’.

“The worst (assumption) is that we are easy target for manipulations by certain quarters, especially human rights organisations. I want to prove here that this is dead wrong — we can achieve things, just like those from other communities can,” he said when met after the closing of a ‘Health Camp for Senior Citizens’ recently, organised by Long Bedian Health Clinic  and Long Bedian Health Panel, where Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau attended as the guest-of-honour.

The assemblyman lauded Ezra on his SAO appointment, believing that Ezra was the right person for the job in that he understood the community better than outsiders.

He also stood as a great role model and influence for the Penans, especially the youths.

“The community can see Ezra as a mentor and motivator. What’s more important for the Penans is for them to change their mindset, especially in education,” said Dennis.

On the elevation of Long Bedian status to sub-district, Dennis said this could be attributed to strong teamwork, cooperation and support between the local folk and the government.

“The elevation (of status) brings the government closer to the people through the setup of government offices and agencies (here) — reducing the time and cost for the folk from Long Bedian to travel to Long Lama, Marudi and Miri should they need to deal with official matters.

“The people here will also know more about the roles and functions of government agencies.”

On the health camp, Dennis thanked the organisers for conducting such as a beneficial programme.